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Age of Social Transition, Parental Acceptance, and Mental Health of Transgender Adults

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The rates of anxiety, depression, and attempted suicide for transgender individuals are extremely elevated relative to the general population. Yet, little research has been conducted about the transgender population regarding social transition (an individual presenting as their authentic/true gender, one

The rates of anxiety, depression, and attempted suicide for transgender individuals are extremely elevated relative to the general population. Yet, little research has been conducted about the transgender population regarding social transition (an individual presenting as their authentic/true gender, one different than the gender they were assigned at birth, in the context of everyday life) and parental acceptance. Both of which have been shown to impact the mental health of transgender individuals. The purposes of this study were: (1) To characterize a sample of transgender adults on their age of awareness of their authentic gender identity and their age of social transition. (2) Examine whether age of social transition, (3) parental acceptance, and (4) the gap in time between age of awareness and age of social transition (awareness-transition gap) were related to mental health. (5) Examine whether parental acceptance was related to age of social transition or to awareness-transition gap. (6) Examine whether age of social transition or awareness-transition gap interact with parental acceptance as correlates of mental health. The sample consisted of 115 transgender adults, ages 18 to 64. Measures were separated into 7 subheadings: demographics, transgender
on-cisgender identity, age of awareness, age of social transition, primary caregiver acceptance, secondary caregiver acceptance, and mental health. Hypotheses were partially supported for age of social transition with mental health, parental acceptance with mental health, and awareness-transition gap with parental acceptance. This study investigated under studied concepts of social transition and parental acceptance that appear to have an effect on the mental health of transgender adults.

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2018-05

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Perceived group discrimination and problem behavior: the moderating role of traditional cultural values and familial relationships in Mexican American adolescents

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A theme in the life experiences of ethnic minority adolescents is the perception of discrimination and its concomitant challenges. Although existing literature has examined the perception of discrimination in adolescents, little research has examined how the cultural and familial setting

A theme in the life experiences of ethnic minority adolescents is the perception of discrimination and its concomitant challenges. Although existing literature has examined the perception of discrimination in adolescents, little research has examined how the cultural and familial setting may heighten or alleviate the impact of perceived discrimination on psychological outcomes in Latino youth. The current study investigated how traditional cultural values and parent-adolescent relationships prospectively interact with perceptions of group based discrimination to influence Latino adolescent mental health, adjustment, and risky behaviors. Data used from the Parents and Youth Study included 194 Mexican American (MA) adolescents. Adolescents reported on their perceptions of group discrimination, endorsement of traditional Mexican cultural values, and parent-child relationships in the 7th grade (Time 1). The study also used indices of externalizing (mother report), internalizing, substance use and risky sexual behavior (adolescent report) in 10th grade (Time 2). The findings demonstrated that traditional Mexican cultural values, particularly familism, moderated the relationship between perceived group discrimination and adolescent sexual behavior. Additionally, a better overall relationship with mother and father buffered the detrimental effects of perceived group discrimination on risky sexual behavior. The current work discusses future directions of how the context of culture and family may shape an adolescent's response to perceived discrimination and the well-being of minorities.

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2011

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Family systems in the context of child risk: an observational analysis

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Family plays an important yet understudied role in the development of psychopathology during childhood, particularly for children at developmental risk. Indeed, much of the research on families has actually concentrated more on risk processes in individual family members or within-family

Family plays an important yet understudied role in the development of psychopathology during childhood, particularly for children at developmental risk. Indeed, much of the research on families has actually concentrated more on risk processes in individual family members or within-family subsystems. In general, important and complex associations have been found among family-related constructs such as marital conflict, parent-child relationships, parental depression, and parenting stress, which have in turn been found to contribute to the emergence of children's behavioral problems. Research has begun to emerge that certain family system constructs, such as cohesion, organization, and control may influence children's development, but this research has been limited by a focus on parent-reports of family functioning, rather than utilizing observational methods. With notable exceptions, there is almost no observational research examining families of children at developmental risk. This study examined the longitudinal relations among family risk and family system constructs, as well as how family systems constructs mediated the relations between family risk and child outcome. Further, the study examined how developmental risk moderated these relations. The sample followed 242 families of children with and without developmental risk across the transition-to-school period. Family risk factors were assessed at 5 years, using parental reports of symptomatology, parenting stress, and marital adjustment, and observational assessments of the parent-child relationship. Family system constructs (cohesion, warmth, conflict, organization, control) were measured at age 6 using structured observations of the entire family playing a board game. Child behavior problems and social competence were assessed at age 7. Results indicated that families of children with developmental delays did not differ from families of typically developing children on the majority of family system attributes. Cohesion and organization mediated the relations between specific family risk factors and social competence for all families. For families of typically developing children only, higher levels of control were associated with more behavior problems and less social competence. These findings underscore the importance of family-level assessment in understanding the development of psychopathology. Important family effects on children's social competence were found, although the pathways among family risk and family systems attributes are complex.

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2012

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Biculturalism, mental health, and the cultural environment: a longitudinal approach to examining the person-environment fit hypothesis

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Twenty-five percent of Americans are first- or second-generation immigrants (US Census, 2012). Thus, it is likely that many Americans identify with at least two cultures, that of the mainstream United States culture, and their ethnic culture from which they came,

Twenty-five percent of Americans are first- or second-generation immigrants (US Census, 2012). Thus, it is likely that many Americans identify with at least two cultures, that of the mainstream United States culture, and their ethnic culture from which they came, making them bicultural. However, current understanding of the impact of biculturalism on psychological functioning is quite limited in scope, as few studies have examined this association longitudinally or considered the moderating role of the cultural environment. The present study proposed to take a more comprehensive approach in understanding the consequences of biculturalism on psychological outcomes (i.e., depression, anxiety, and substance abuse symptoms) among Mexican American adolescents, as they belong to one of largest and fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States (US Census, 2013). The present study had two major goals. The first was to examine the influence of biculturalism on depression, anxiety, and substance abuse symptoms longitudinally over the course of two years. It was hypothesized that overall, biculturalism will lead to less depression, anxiety, and substance abuse symptoms. The results partially supported these predictions. For males, biculturalism was related to significantly fewer anxiety symptoms, but not for females. Further, no main effects of biculturalism were found for depression and substance abuse for males or females. The second goal of the study was to examine the potential moderating role of the cultural environment on the influence of biculturalism on mental health symptoms. It was hypothesized that bicultural individuals will exhibit less mental health symptoms in bicultural environments (person-environment fit) compared to more monocultural individuals (person-environment misfit). However, no differences are expected to ii emerge between bicultural and monocultural individuals in monocultural environments, as both groups should be well adapted in these settings. The results did not fully support these predictions. Though, biculturalism for male adolescents was related to significantly fewer anxiety symptoms in home environments where parents reported moderate degrees of biculturalism, and females' biculturalism was related to significantly fewer depression symptoms in neighborhood environments that were relatively bicultural; no effects of biculturalism were found in environments that were the most bicultural. The implications of the findings are discussed.

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2014

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Discrimination in Mexican American adolescents: : examining processes that minimize negative adjustment outcomes

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Recent reports have indicated that there are both mental health and educational disparities between Latino youth and their European American counterparts. Specifically, Latin youth are at a heightened risk for negative mental health outcomes in comparison to their non-Latino youth

Recent reports have indicated that there are both mental health and educational disparities between Latino youth and their European American counterparts. Specifically, Latin youth are at a heightened risk for negative mental health outcomes in comparison to their non-Latino youth (e.g., Eaton et al., 2008). Further, 16.7% of Latino adolescents dropped out of high school compared to 5.3% of European American youth over the past several decades (1960-2011; U.S. Department of Education, 2013). Mexican American (M.A. youth in particular, have the lowest educational attainment among all Latino ethnic groups in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). While these mental health and educational disparities have often been attributed to discrimination experiences that Latino youth encounter, there is also consistent empirical evidence linking discrimination with these maladjustment problems. These studies confirmed that discrimination directly related to depressive symptoms (e.g., Umana-Taylor et al., 2007), externalizing behaviors (Berkel et al., 2010), self-esteem (e.g., Zeiders et al., 2013), and academic outcomes (e.g., Umana-Taylor et al., 2012). Few studies to date have examined the underlying mechanisms (i.e., moderation and mediation) that help us to better understand resiliency paths for those Latino youth that display positive adjustment outcomes despite being faced with similar discrimination encounters that their maladjusted peers face. Therefore, the following two studies examined various mechanisms in which discrimination related to adjustment to better understand potential risk and resiliency processes in hopes of informing intervention research. Paper 1 explored cultural influences on the association between discrimination, active coping, and mental health outcomes in M.A. youth. Paper 2 examined how trajectories of discrimination across 5th, 7th, and 10th grades related to cultural values, externalizing behaviors, and academic outcomes in M.A. youth. Taken together, these studies provide a culturally informed overview of adjustment processes in M.A. adolescents who face discrimination in addition to identifying critical directions for future research in efforts to gaining a more contextualized and comprehensive understanding of the dynamic processes involved in discrimination and adjustment in M.A. youth.

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2014

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Equine Assisted Learning: An Evidence-Based Intervention for Families

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Background: It is estimated that 50% of all mental illness arises prior to age 14, an incident attributed in part to disruptions and imbalances within the family system. Equine assisted learning is a complementary and alternative approach to family therapy

Background: It is estimated that 50% of all mental illness arises prior to age 14, an incident attributed in part to disruptions and imbalances within the family system. Equine assisted learning is a complementary and alternative approach to family therapy which is being used increasingly to promote mental health in both adults and children. This study sought to build and deliver an evidence-based, family-centered equine assisted learning program aimed at promoting family function, family satisfaction and child social-emotional competence, and to measure its acceptability and preliminary effect.

Method: Twenty families with children 10 years and older were recruited to participate in a 3-week equine assisted learning program at a therapeutic riding center in Phoenix, Arizona. Sessions included groundwork activities with horses used to promote life skills using experiential learning theory. The study design included a mixed-method quasi-experimental one-group pretest posttest design using the following mental health instruments: Devereaux Student Strengths Assessment, Brief Family Assessment Measure (3 dimensions), and Family Satisfaction Scale to measure child social-emotional competence, family function, and family satisfaction, respectively. Acceptability was determined using a Likert-type questionnaire with open-ended questions to gain a qualitative thematic perspective of the experience.

Results: Preliminary pretest and posttest comparisons were statistically significant for improvements in family satisfaction (p = 0.001, M = -5.84, SD = 5.63), all three domains of family function (General Scale: p = 0.005, M = 6.84, SD = 9.20; Self-Rating Scale: p = 0.050, M = 6.53, SD = 12.89; and Dyadic Relationship Scale: p = 0.028, M = 3.47, SD = 7.18), and child social-emotional competence (p = 0.015, M = -4.05, SD 5.95). Effect sizes were moderate to large (d > 0.5) for all but one instrument (Self-Rating Scale), suggesting a considerable magnitude of change over the three-week period. The intervention was highly accepted among both children and adults. Themes of proximity, self-discovery, and regard for others emerged during evaluation of qualitative findings. Longitudinal comparisons of baseline and 3-month follow-up remain in-progress, a topic available for future discussion.

Discussion: Results help to validate equine assisted learning as a valuable tool in the promotion of child social-emotional intelligence strengthened in part by the promotion of family function and family satisfaction. For mental health professionals, these results serve as a reminder of the alternatives that are available, as well as the importance of partnerships within the community. For therapeutic riding centers, these results help equine professionals validate their programs and gain a foothold within the scientific community. Additionally, they invite future riding centers to follow course in incorporating evidence into their programs and examining new directions for growth within the mental health community.

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2019-05-02